Iglo lost market share on the continent while currency fluctuations and extra trading days boosted net revenues 3.5 per cent year-on-year. It reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), before exceptional items, up by 12.8% to £141.56M (€180.3M) from 3125.54M (€159.9M) last year.
But this was partially offset by record frozen food sales in the UK, which makes up about one third of the firm’s sales. “Total frozen food’ in the UK grew faster than total food over the first half of 2012,” said the firm.
“This is the first time that total frozen food has grown faster than total food and it will be an indicator we will be watching closely.”
UK growth was driven by strong performances across all core categories, with strong contributions from fish fingers, coated fish, rice fusions, and poultry.
Iglo said its second-quarter launch of takeaway style snacking product Takeaway Treats had delivered sales of £4.7M (€6m) during the period.
Total UK supermarket sales rose by 2.9%, while sales of frozen food grew by 3.1% to reach £4.5bn, according to market research from Nielsen.
Growth in frozen food sales was said to partly reflect cost-conscious consumers looking to make shopping budgets stretch further.
Martin Glenn, chief executive, said: “Following a successful 2011, the group continued to grow strongly in fish and poultry through the first half of 2012, while our focus on operational execution drove EBITDA growth despite a challenging retail environment."
The firm remained on track to deliver core category sales growth, he added. “Through the ongoing support of our owner Permira Funds, our category approach, and our industry leadership, we will continue to innovate and grow across both existing and new markets; organically and as Europe’s natural consolidator of the frozen food market.”
Meanwhile, in June finance houses BC Partners and Blackstone were reportedly working together on a joint $3bn bid for Iglo.
Iglo, owner of the Birds Eye brand in Europe, was bought by present owner Permira from Unilever for €1.7bn six years ago.
Iglo produces and markets premium branded frozen food products in 11 countries and distributes across a number of other countries in central and eastern Europe.
To read more about growth in the UK frozen and chilled food market, click here .